Experience Excellence

at California State University, Chico here.

Economics is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions.
John Maynard Keynes

Chico Economics Graduate Careers - Consultant

Lee BarendseLee J. Barendse

Lee J. Barendse, who graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Economics, works as an information management consultant for Method360 in San Francisco, California. Before transferring to Chico State, Lee worked as a support technician at Celebration Depot LLC, where he installed, configured, and maintained their e-commerce for almost 6 years. After enrolling at Chico State in 2012, Lee participated in the Economics Club, Alpha Sigma Phi, and BIS Society. During his first semester at Chico, Lee was a certified peer educator for BACCHUS Network, an organization that engages student leaders in addressing campus health and safety issues.

While completing his Economics major, Lee minored in Management Information Systems, which involved classes such as CSCI 111 (Programming and Algorithms), MINS 245 (Data Communications and Networking), MINS 350 (Business Systems analysis) and BSIS 301 (Enterprise Technology Integration). After graduation, Lee accepted his current position with Method360 where he has consulted with McKesson Corporation, Del Monte Foods, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and ExxonMobil. Lee also has co-authorship credits on two technical books relating to SAP technologies.

“My economics training has given me the ability to analyze complex problems and communicate their solutions effectively,” Lee stated in a recent email.   


Greta Bernard MacdonaldGreta Bernard Macdonald

Greta Bernard Macdonald, who graduated with her BA in Economics in 1999, is a management consultant for public and non-profit sectors at Marcias Gini and O’Connell LLP. She is an experienced management consultant and audit professional with a wide range of experience working with a variety of clients in the public and non-profit sectors, including healthcare and transportation. She has performed dozens of operational, performance, and compliance audits of public agencies, non-profit organizations, municipal governments, public hospitals and health plans. Greta has developed audit guidelines, designed, administered and analyzed the results of questionnaires, case studies, and structured interviews.

After graduation at Chico State, Greta enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Southern California and while working on her degree she accepted a position as a consultant with Macias Gini and O’Connell in Los Angeles, California.  She completed her MPA in 2002.  Greta was promoted to manager in MGO’s Advisory Services in 2011.

"I do remember loving my public finance course, taught by Bob Fischer, who inspired me to go on to get a master's in public administration," Greta stated in a recent email.  "As a government consultant, at a high level, we are constantly advising our clients about how to efficiently and effectively allocate scarce resources, be it funds, staffing or infrastructure. Or sometimes, if it's an internal audit rather than a consulting project, we identify where there are weaknesses in a process, program, or department, which is impacts efficiency or effectiveness. I enjoy connecting with clients and providing them with solutions that focus on improving outcomes."


Steve CowdinSteve Cowdin

Steve Cowdin, who graduated from Chico with a BA in economics in 1972 and an MPA in 1977, worked as an economist for Department of Water Resources in Sacramento. His areas of expertise include:

Water resource project planning analysis, including plan formulation and evaluation; Consequence analysis, including economic impact analysis, population-at-risk estimation, and life loss estimation; Development of innovative methods for benefit-cost analysis of multi-objective projects; Flood damage reduction analyses using Corps of Engineers and FEMA models and methods; Risk management, risk assessment, and risk communication

I was the CA DWR lead economist for flood risk management studies and contributed economic analyses to several significant Central Valley flood risk reduction studies, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins Comprehensive Study, Hamilton City Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Feasibility Study, and Colusa Basin Integrated Watershed Management Study.

He retired from state service in 2010 but am currently with David Ford Consulting Engineers, Inc. (Sacramento) still doing flood risk management studies for CA DWR and other agencies, including the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.


Jennifer DobbJennifer Dobb

Jennifer Dobb is an economic consultant in Denver, CO. She graduated in 2008 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Business Administration from Chico State, and went on to earn a MS in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University. While working on her master’s degree Jennifer was an economics clerk and university research assistant for USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services at the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado. In her role with USDA APHIS, Jennifer researched impacts of human-wildlife conflicts and wrote proposals for new studies to quantify the economic damages of these conflicts.

In 2012 Jennifer left APHIS to join the U.S. Forest Service TEAMS Enterprise Unit. As an economist, she worked as part of interdisciplinary teams to assess the social and economic impacts of federal natural resource management plans, and how these impacts affect the benefits people derive from the natural environment. 

“As an applied economist, economics is my career, Jennifer stated in a recent email. “My work generally lies at the intersection between regional and environmental economics, providing socioeconomic and environmental justice support. “


Robert EylerRobert Eyler

Robert Eyler , who graduated with his BA in Economics in 1992, is Interim Dean, School of Extended and International Education, Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Regional Economic Analysis at Sonoma State University . Robert earned a Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1998. He is also the CEO of the Marin Economic Forum, a private-public partnership aimed at Marin County’s sustainable growth through business vitality, social equity and environmental balance.

“As an economics professor, economics is the core of what I do every day in terms of teaching, research, practical applications in economic development work, or consulting. In many cases, I am asked to provide guidance to local communities, news outlets, or private clients on the economic interpretation of events or specific microeconomic phenomena. I guide an annual economic forecast for the North Bay region in northern California, which includes Lake, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, and Mendocino counties. I am also running a public-private partnership in Marin County dedicated to economic development. That work includes various economic forecasts and analyses. My time at Chico State interested me in econometrics and forecasting and also teaching, all of which I apply daily.”

Robert is the author of two books and several academic articles concerning economic sanctions, the economics of the wine industry, and monetary economics. Dr. Eyler is often called up by the media for his expert input into the economic climate, acted as an expert witness in interstate trade litigation, and as a forensic economist. He also provides economic impact analyses for both private firms and public entities to help guide public policy at the local and state level and has been a visiting scholar at both the University of Bologna and Stanford University.


FranklinConnor Franklin

Connor Franklin, who received his BA in International Economics with Honors and a minor in International Studies in 2015, works with Workforce Solutions as a consultant for the State Compensation Insurance Fund. He also participates in Workforce Solutions’ emerging leader program where he receives rotational assignments through various departments.

Connor was a recipient of John G. Smale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Economics and the John G. Smale Scholarship for Excellence in Economics, 2014-2015.

While an undergraduate at Chico State he began working for the Center for Economic Development at Chico State as a research assistant where he analyzed data and prepared reports. He was also a grader and a tutor for the Economics Department, and he found time to work in sales at Collier Hardware.

“Economics will help me in my career in that it helps me think in logical, analytical ways” he stated in a recent email.


Andy HaysAndy Hays

Andy Hays, who graduated in 2005 with a BA in Economics and a minor in Business, is an auditor for Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E).  After graduation Andy worked for Wells Fargo selling mortgages during the housing bubble.  Sensing that something was wrong in 2007, Andy left Wells Fargo to become General Manager for Game Stop in Chico.  “The company merged with EB Games and the climate of the job became much more sales oriented rather than management oriented,” Andy stated in a recent email. 

In 2008 he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked for Comcast as a technician installing cable until 2011 when he began working for Gas Transmission Systems (GTS), a local Chico business with an office in Walnut Creek.  Andy transferred back to Chico in 2012 still working for GTS as an Auditor for PG&E.  In 2015 he got a job with PG&E doing the same thing that he was doing at GTS but as an internal employee instead of a contractor.  “Basically what I do is ensure that all our paperwork follows the standards written by PG&E to avoid any possible violations to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). I can't get into specifics due to the non-disclosure agreement that I signed.”

“To be honest I don't use my Econ degree at all, but It is the only reason I have the job since in order to get hired I needed to have a college degree.   I would like to have a job that uses my Econ degree, maybe with the federal government, but government jobs don't pay so well.  I make decent money at PG&E and great money for Chico.”


heckBrandon Heck

Brandon Heck, who graduated in 2011 with a BA in Economics and a BS in Mathematics, finished his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 2016 and accepted a position as research associate with IMPAQ International.  He will be working in the health division of IMPAQ’s Oakland office.  “The company contracts both with the federal government and non-profit to do policy evaluation and implementation,” Brandon stated in a recent email.  “I will mostly be using econometrics to do policy evaluation.”

As an undergraduate at Chico State Brandon was a member of the Econ Club, Pi Mu Epsilon Mathematical Society, the Phi Eta Sigma Freshmen Honor Society, and the vice president of the Math Club.  During his junior year he worked as a bookkeeper for Amber Treasure

After graduating from Chico State Brandon enrolled at UCSC where he was the lead consultant for the Center for Statistical Analysis in the Social Sciences and a teaching assistant.  He also consulted as an assistant expert witness in a biotech firm’s case for San Mateo County, California. 

“The training in Economics that I received at Chico State came from excellent teachers that propelled me toward seeking a PhD and gave me the insights to succeed in that program and  ultimately in my career.”


Tommy HydeTommy Hyde

Tom Hyde, who graduated with a BA in Economics in 2012, is a business consultant at HydeConsulting LLC, a company that he founded in 2014 in Portland, Oregon.  Hyde Consulting provides business services “with the goals of fostering entrepreneurship and facilitating sustainable growth, as well as helping to solve, or altogether prevent, problems and complications faced by businesses, in this evermore interconnected and complex global market,” according to Tom’s LinkedIn page. 

Tom transferred to Chico State from Montana State University in 2009.  After graduation Tommy worked as a ski and snowboard technician for about a year and one-half at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. “I was in my mid 20's and trying not to let life get too serious too fast,” Tom stated in a recent email.  “I also enjoyed working in a place where my favorite recreation is part of the job. However, I knew it wouldn't be enough to satisfy my desire for critical thinking and problem solving or get me compensation to live comfortably.” 

Tom started working as a contractor with Vista Partners, also in Bend, in 2013.  After almost 2 years as a contractor, Tom opened his own business, Hyde Consulting LLC, in Bend, Oregon, shortly before moving to Portland, Oregon, where he is now working.  “I founded the firm to find and gain some advantages as a contracted financial analyst and consultant while working with Vista Partners and a number of small startups.”

“I also passed with high scores on my Series 3 FINRA licensing exam to become a commodities futures and options broker and worked at a commodities brokerage firm, Excel Futures.  Unfortunately, I only worked with the company for around 2 weeks as I found that I was not satisfied by the work. This ties into my college experience, as one thing Chico State University's Department of Economics gave me was an understanding of myself and the type of environment that will allow me to reach my full potential.”

“I'm looking at moving forward into getting my Series 65 or 66 license from FINRA so I can give advice on investing and the markets, but until then I'm planning on getting back into making commentary, observations and conclusions via writing on my site and for clients on everything from the wider global economy to individual markets, both those I respect and those I have issues with, which are at the core of the whole system of the study we call economics.  I am also looking into expanding into a podcast, as I think it's probably a better format for the subject matter than a vlog unless I'm interviewing somebody.  Thinking critically about details is another lesson college taught me.”  (Last Updated 10/17/16)   


TiffanyTiffany Lightle

Tiffany Lightle, who graduated in 2016 with a BA in Economics and with honors in Environmental Economics, is a research assistant at the Center for Economic Development (CED) at Chico State.  She transferred to Chico State from Shasta College with an Associate’s Degree in Social Studies in 2014.  During her junior year at Chico State she completed an internship as research assistant for the Sacramento River Conservation Area Forum, collecting and entering survey data.  After completing her internship, Tiffany began working as a student research assistant at the CED, researching data, creating maps and helping write reports. After graduation Tiffany decided to take one more semester at Chico State in order to finish her minor in Geography.  She will continue working at CED while completing her minor.

“The economics department at Chico State has given me a great deal of skill sets which I am able to apply in real-life settings,” Tiffany stated in a recent email.  “Many of the classes at Chico State, such as Econometrics and Economic Statistics, have prepared me for data collection and analysis in the real world. I am able to think more critically and am better able to see the bigger picture. The Center for Economic Development has given me the ability to collect and analyze regional data, assist in creating reports, and provide spatial representations of data collected by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software and interactive mapping.” 


Richard McKinnonRichard McKinnon

Richard McKinnon , who graduated with a BA degree in Economics in 1997, is CEO of MetaVista Consulting Group (MVC) and Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise Technology Group (DVBETG) in Sacramento, California. Both firms provide IT (information technology) consulting services for the public and private sectors. Their specialties include project and program management, technology consulting, IT strategic planning, change management, IT implementation services, business analysis, data architecture, data center network and infrastructure training, and IT security consulting.

Richard was recently chosen in December 2015 as the diversity technology owner to work for in Sacramento by Fortune, Money, and Blomberg Magazines.

“Our 18 years of experience consulting in state and local governments afford us a unique perspective on the culture, structure, and human resource challenges of government – allowing us to support the delivery of state and local government technology goals with IT and business expertise. This is illustrated by our proven track record of successfully managing large IT projects , ” a ccording to Richard. Before organizing DVBETG and taking over ownership of MVC, Richard was CEO of Technical and Management Staffing Associates in Redding, California for 14 years.

Richard is a volunteer in many organizations including the VetFund Foundation, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Sacramento Children’s Home, American Cancer Society, Living Room Ministries International, CASA, and Foster Youth Education Fund. “I was the first person in State of California to receive the Purple Heart Gold Coin for my service to the Military Order of the Purple Heart organization, Veterans, and their families.”

“My economics degree helped me get my first job after graduation with a tech company in Irvine. The manager was an econ grad from UCLA, and she wanted me on her team because we both had economic degrees. I did not truly understand how much economics could help until I owned a business. Then I had to start forecasting sales months down the road, because I was responsible for a couple hundred employees and their families. Now I use the tools of economics on a daily basis in my businesses . More than that I learned that Economics is used in EVERY business in the world on a daily basis.”


Kelly MoffittKellsey Moffitt

Kellsey Moffitt, who graduated with her BA in Economics and a minor in Management Information Systems in 2014, is a human capital analyst for Deloitte Consulting LLP in Pleasanton, California. As a human capital analyst, she helps businesses align their goals and their employees’ functions. Kellsey began her career as an intern at KPMG while she was an undergraduate at Chico State. At KPMG she assisted in the evaluation of technology that the firm used and analyzed the firm’s growth and its strategic goals and helped write reports that required technical writing skills. She used her internship at KPMG as a springboard to get her current position at Deloitte which was waiting for her when she graduated.

Kellsey uses the analytical skills that she learned in her microeconomics classes at Chico State every day in her position as a human capital analyst.


James PadinhaJames Padinha

James Padinha, who graduated with his BA in Economics in 1990, is a financial consultant in Jackson, Wyoming.  After graduation James entered the University of California at Santa Barbara where he received his MA in Economics in 1992.  

Upon completion of his masters, James accepted a position as the macroeconomic and financial research editor for Trim Tabs Investment Research in Santa Rosa, California.  In 1993 he moved on to First Interstate Bancorp (later merged with Wells Fargo) as a macroeconomic forecaster and a year later he accepted a position as principal fixed income strategist at Briefing.com.  James spent the next 2 years working as a macroeconomic columnist for TheStreet.com

beginning 1997 James worked as a macroeconomic advisor for Standard and Poor’s, Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, and Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder.  James has been an independent consultant in Jackson, Wyoming, since 2011.  


Chris Yost-BremmChris Yost-Bremm

Chris Yost-Bremm, who graduated with honors in 2011 with a BA in Economics and a minor in International Accounting, is a quantitative researcher for BlackRock and Real Property Analytics Inc in San Francisco, California.  Before earning his degree in economics, Chris completed a BS in Business Administration and Management at Chico State in 2008.  In 2010 he finished his BS in Engineering and Industrial Management.  After completing his undergraduate degrees Chris finished his Master of Business Administration in 2011.

In 2011 Chris left Chico State for Texas A&M University where he completed his Ph.D. in Finance in 2015.  Before completing his Ph.D. he entered Georgia Tech’s (Georgia Institute of Technology) Master’s Degree program in Computer Science.  He plans to complete his Master’s with a specialization in Machine Learning at Georgia Tech in 2017.

“Economics has helped me take a broader perspective about how countries relate, and helped me appreciate that while many events happen randomly and suddenly, predictable economic relationships can still exist over the long run” Chris stated in a recent email.